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The Principles of Applied Imagination (AI)

The Bureau of AI was set up to help organizations and people make sense of shaping the relationship between people and technology. We are at a unique crossroads in human history, and the pace of change will only accelerate in the Imagination Age. 

AI usually stands for Artificial Intelligence. At The Bureau of AI, we believe that intelligence is not artificial. Intelligence is real. The ability to creatively develop intelligence is a human superpower, and calling the process "artificial" is giving up our power. Here, AI means Applied Imagination: the main skill required in the Imagination Age. Technology should remain in service to our own human ideas.


We can shape the future with purpose instead of letting it happen to us. The Bureau of AI works with organizations to amplify the human power of Applied Imagination, enhancing the ability to think, ask better questions, find the right problems to solve, and get comfortable on a journey into the unknown while implementing solutions. 


1. All people, everywhere, are born with imagination.​  

2. Imagination is the way the brain forms a path between where you are and where you want to go.

3. Some people are fantasizers who have wild imaginations. Others are followers who want a path cut for them that they can comfortably follow. Some want to apply their imaginations in pragmatic ways. Applied Imagination is a spectrum that includes ideation and execution.

4. Imagination helps us see what isn't there yet, and to assess what is. This process is an important part of transformation. We rely on what's familiar, even if it doesn't serve us. 

5. Imagination is a mix of nebulous and tangible elements. Applied Imagination is a process of understanding the importance of both on the journey.

6. The nebulous aspects of this path are made tangible, and the tangible aspects released if they no longer serve the journey's mission.


7. The advanced practitioner learns to prioritize the elements of this path, to root out the unnecessary parts and develop the important aspects in real time, even as it changes.


8. Children are not just playing with their imaginations. They are learning how to solve problems. As children grow, they learn that society has rules to keep their thinking in line. The thinking has already been done for them. Imagination is wrongly viewed as frivolous. As adults, we can regain this power in a mature way, and apply it to the challenges we face in our lives and in society. 


9. Applied imagination requires clear communication. People aren’t mind readers.


10. Clearly communicated ideas influence the imaginations of others, for better or worse. If someone else’s vision is an upgrade from your own, consider updating yours rather than resisting new ideas.


11. Imagination takes practice, like learning a language or playing an instrument. You can get rusty and lose your progress. The development of Applied Imagination is as rigorous a discipline as any other.


12. The future is invented through Applied Imagination, collaboratively developed and clearly communicated to people who are committed to making the vision real.

To discuss ways to apply the pragmatic Principles of Applied Imagination within your organization, contact Rita J. King

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